Spotlight on a Libertarian: Kim Ruff

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Written by Heather Gwynn

Follow Heather on Twitter at @starlasworld

An Arizona native and former military spouse, I graduated from Scottsdale Community College with an Associates in Applied Science in Motion Picture / Television before earning dual baccalaureate degrees in Political Science and Communication from Arizona State University. 

I became an active participant in the Libertarian Party in 2009. Since then, I have worked as a Campaign Manager and Political Director for two separate Congressional Campaigns; a Communications Director for 2016 Libertarian Party Presidential Nominee, Darryl W. Perry; and engaged in chapter development and community outreach campaigns for both the Arizona Libertarian Party and the Libertarian Party of New York, the latter of which resulted in me founding a chapter in my then-county of Niagara. Currently, I am the webmaster and one of the contributors to Libertarian Slut, Secretary and Arizona State Coordinator of the Libertarian Party Radical Caucus, and laying the groundwork for my 2018 run for Arizona State House in legislative district 21 with the assistance of Vote Different Initiative.

Outside of politics, I have over ten years of experience as a Sales and Marketing professional, estimator, and project manager in steel fabrication; freelance audio/graphics engineer for a local government television station; and, movie reviewer for statewide GLBT magazine. I am a motorcycle and firearms enthusiast, avid reader (mostly non-fiction, but love the occasional sci-fi novel), cinephile (minor triumphs are that I’ve seen every single movie on AFI’s Top 100 and damn near every single Academy Award winner or nominee for Best Picture), craft beer connoisseur (drinking Corona is a sign of self-loathing), gardener, and single mother to two small, hilarious, weird children whose own anti-authoritarian streaks make parenting an exhausting, exasperating, but nonetheless exciting experience.

Also, I like alliteration.

 

Liberty Viral (LV):  How did you get introduced to the liberty movement, and when did you get actively involved?

Kim:  In 2005, disgusted by the GOP’s shift towards Neoconservatism and the Bush Administration’s adoption of the USA Patriot Act and decision to engage in the twin wars of Iraq and Afghanistan, I switched my voter registration to libertarian. I did not, however, become involved with the party until 2009 after Ron Paul failed to secure the GOP nod. One of the first things I did for the Arizona Libertarian Party was work as a Campaign Manager for a Congressional Candidate running against a Democratic incumbent, and – outside of a 2-1/2 year respite where I dialed it back to have children and move around the country a couple of times with my military ex-husband – have been at it ever since.

 

LV:  What cause is most important to you within the movement?

Kim:  The single largest issue for me is international relations, and everything that falls under that — including the Military-Industrial Complex, foreign policy, national security, intelligence, and terrorism. I come from a military background (my maternal grandfather is a former Marine who served during Vietnam and my paternal grandfather was a paratrooper in the Army who served during WWII and Korea), my ex-husband is a C-130 pilot with the US Air Force, and I have a lot of friends both within, and outside of, the Liberty Movement who have served or are currently serving in the military, so I have a lot of empathy and compassion for our troops – a sentiment that has resulted in me adopting a vehemently antiwar stance, as the best way we can protect our troops is to not send them overseas to die.

LV:  Who is your liberty role model and why?

Kim:  Former Arizona Senator and one-time GOP Presidential Candidate (1964), Barry Goldwater. Not only was Goldwater a staunch proponent of limited government, he was the epitome of a statesman and self-made man. His strength of character and conviction, coupled with his ability to build coalitions with allies and nurture respectful relationships with ideological foes, was an enormous asset to the people of Arizona. His manifesto, “Conscience of a Conservative”, was Ron Paul’s “Revolution” written 50-years earlier.


LV:  
In your opinion, which active Libertarian is most influential, and why?

Kim:  It’s difficult to say which active Libertarian is the most influential, as a person’s influence is an entirely subjective matter and there are so many strong minds and voices within our party, but one of the people I am in utter awe of is Caryn Ann Harlos, Region 1 Representative for the Libertarian National Committee (LNC), Communications Director for the Libertarian Party of Colorado (LPCO), and Colorado State Coordinator for the Libertarian Party Radical Caucus (LPRC). As a colleague of mine on the LPRC and a member of her LNC region, I get to see firsthand how passionate, indefatigable, and principled she is – she has brought an unprecedented level of transparency to the LNC, puts together exhaustive reports on the activities within each of the states she represents, communicates consistently with all of us through multiple platforms, participates in every committee she possibly can, travels constantly to speaking engagements, and brings the same amount of energy and enthusiasm into every endeavor she embarks on…all of this while she works 60-hours a week as a paralegal. Caryn Ann is a total powerhouse. On top of that, she’s one of the most genuine, encouraging, caring, and hilarious people I’ve ever met…after Sarah Stewart (Daggers), of course.

 

LV:  How would you approach someone who is showing an initial interest in Libertarianism?

Kim:I try to approach everyone who shows interest in libertarianism with respect. As I mentioned, I came into the Libertarian Party as a Goldwater Republican and one of my first assignments was working as a Campaign Manager for Nick Coons, a Congressional Candidate and co-host of the radio show, Libertarian Solution. Nick is an anarchist, and over the course of the year and a half I worked with him, we had countless discussions, dialogues, and debates about politics, and even though we disagreed on a couple of key points, he never attacked or criticized me for holding different beliefs. That was encouraging to me, and did quite a bit to not only educate me on these ideas I’d never thought about before, but keep me engaged and active in the Libertarian Party. We need to do that for everyone – engage, educate, and encourage – because today’s curious questioner could become tomorrow’s biggest advocate.

LV:  What is the first book you would tell someone who is interested in the LP to read?

Kim:  The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein. Not everyone has the patience or interest to sit through some of the oft-cited non-fiction tomes about politics or economics, and The Moon… is a genuinely entertaining and educational science fiction novel about a Lunar Colony that rises against its Terran Oppressors with the aid of a sentient computer. Other good reads are Animal Farm by George Orwell and the short story, “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut.

 

LV:  What do you like most about being involved in the LP?

Kim:  Hands down, the people. The Libertarian Party is comprised of some of the most intelligent, passionate, hard-working, principled people I have ever met, and being in the company of such an incredible group of people has made my life exponentially better.

 

LV:  If you could eliminate one Government agency, which would it be and why?

Kim:  Currently, the United States has sixteen (16) different intelligence agencies that comprise the US Intelligence Community — eight in the Department of Defense, two in Department of Homeland Security, two in the Department of Justice, one each in the Departments of Treasury, Energy, and State, and one independent agency (CIA). Since 9/11, they have been gathering an unprecedented amount of intelligence both on foreign and domestic soil by engaging in practices that violate our rights, and have only succeeded in increasing the size and scope of the surveillance state. Though our government’s typical answer to systemic failures in a program or agency is to throw more money at it, the private sector’s answer of getting rid of dead weight is more cost effective and efficient, so let’s start with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and go from there.

 

LV:  What plans do you have to to grow the party in 2017?

Kim:  My strategy is two-fold: encourage others to get involved, and lead by example. The former is done by nurturing interpersonal relationships with other activists, adopting an optimistic outlook, and putting out consistent, positive messages, and the latter is achieved by working on chapter developmnt, running for local office, and staying active and involved in my work with the Libertarian Party Radical Caucus, both locally and nationally.

 

LV:  What words of advice would you give to other Libertarians on how to get involved in the party, locally and nationally?

Kim:  Register to vote, reach out to your local and/or state affiliate, attend meetings, volunteer for committees, join a caucus, run for local office, work on a local campaign, write op-eds or editorials for your newspaper, make webcasts, read, become an officer in your party, engage in chapter development, gather petition signatures, build coalitions with liberty-minded organizations, put together initiatives or referendums, register voters, attend and/or participate in public speaking and community outreach events, host a fundraiser, put on an event, participate in podcasts, lobby your legislature, become a delegate for the national convention, monitor the Libertarian National Committee…this list is by no means exhaustive, but it’s a good start.

LV:  Let’s change gears here,  if you could spend an hour with any human to ever exist, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

Kim:  Dolly Parton. She’s a real class act and a great lady. I bet throwing back a couple of cocktails with her and shooting the breeze would be a real kick in the head.

 

LV:  How do you define success and how do you measure it?

Kim:  For me, success is being a person of integrity and principle, and this is achieved when my beliefs translate into meaningful action. Conversely, failure occurs when I neglect to make my bed in the morning.

 


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